AN inspector has slammed an “appalling” rise in assaults on emergency workers in Renfrewshire.

Attacks rocketed  by a quarter last year, according to a report submitted to Renfrewshire Council.

The Police Scotland report indicates there were 182 common assaults on emergency workers between April and November last year – a rise of 25 per cent compared with 2018. The vast majority of the assaults (72 per cent) targeted police officers.

The report is due to be presented to the council’s Police and Fire and Rescue Scrutiny Sub-Committee this week.

Inspector Jim Cast, of Renfrewshire community policing team, said the surge in emergency workers being targeted is unacceptable.

But he admitted protecting workers is becoming more difficult, as a rise in poor mental health is leading more vulnerable people to turn to drink and drugs, putting staff at risk.

Inspector Cast, who is based in Renfrew, said: ”I am very concerned about the rise.

“Emergency workers do an amazing job and go to work everyday to try to protect and help others. To be assaulted in the course of their duty is appalling and unacceptable.

“We treat such attacks very seriously and with absolute zero tolerance but it appears, despite this, the number of attacks still rise.

“We will always try to protect emergency workers and prevent such attacks but this is a difficult task given the decrease in mental health across society and the continued misuse of alcohol and drugs.”

What's in the police report? 

The police report presents a round-up of headline statistics in various crime categories in Renfrewshire between April and November last year.

Other shocking figures included a dramatic rise in fraud incidents. Crimes increased by 45 per cent during the period compared to 2018 , with more than 250 incidents recorded.

Shoplifting decreased by 25 crimes to a total of 645 while housebreakings – including attempts – rose by almost six per cent to 252.

There were a total of 1,053 common assaults – 69 more than the previous year.

The report also revealed the detection rate for robberies went down to 81.6 per cent and for serious assaults it dropped to 76 per cent during the period.

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